Sound Transit and Schwag


I drew this for The Seattle Times, which they ran Thursday.

Sound Transit threw a large party to open new light-rail stations. The party costs taxpayers a whopping $858,000. Those attending were given nice schwag such as tote bags, wallets, lanyards, a commemorative pass. The argument for the party is they need to promote the station so people will use it. Really? It seems people would know there’s a new station in their neighborhood. Ridership has reportedly increased by 25,000 but I doubt that’s because there was a party.

On top of all this the agency is asking for an additional $50 billion. Those better be some very swanky tote bags.

Creative note: When my editor approved this she asked if it was “schwag” or “swag.” I told her it was “schwag” and that I double checked before I sent it to her, but I asked that she and her staff check again just to make sure. I’m always paranoid to tell someone I’m correct about something, even when I’m sure, to find out after publication that I made a mistake in my research. Her assistant assumed it was “swag” since her heard it in a Justin Beiber song. What the? We don’t trust Justin Beiber. What is he, Wikipedia now? I told him to check again and he found the same results I did which is that schwag stands for stuff and low-grade marijuana.

Learning it meant low-grade marijuana was news for both of us but I kinda figured the word had a pot connotation. I’ve known this smelly white dude with dread locks for years who is nicknamed “Schwag.” Nice guy. He’s always mellow.

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